Amir Khan's Camp Fires Strength Coach Alex Ariza
When WBA king Amir Khan (pictured above, center) returns to the ring on April 16 at MEN Arena in Manchester in his native England, the junior welterweight (140 pounds) will apparently do so without his strength coach, Alex Ariza (pictured above, at left), an assistant to five-time Trainer of The Year, Freddie Roach (pictured above, at right), who has apparently been fired, according to a account by BoxingScene.com.
Citing Shah Khan, the father of Amir Khan (24-1, 17 knockouts), BoxingScene.com reported that Ariza's six-fight relationship with the fighter has ended, this, after the 24-year-old of Pakistani decent credited Ariza's prowess as having been paramount for his most recent bout -- last month's HBO televised unanimous decision over Marcos Rene Maidana (29-2, 27 KOs) at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.
After dropping Maidana in the first round as a result of a right-left to the body, Khan had to survive a more than 40-punch barrage that nearly had Khan out on his feet in the 10th round of a match up that was voted Fight of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
"[Alex Ariza] got me to win the fight. He got me in the best condition that I could be in for the fight," said Khan, to which Ariza responded, "He [Khan] deserves all of the credit, he really does."
Ariza joined Khan following his first-round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in September of 2008, after which Khan has gone 6-0, with four knockouts.
Ariza also assists Roach with WBO welterweight (147 pounds) and WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) king Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan (28-0, 17 KOs) and junior middleweight and middleweight prospect Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (41-0-1, 30 KOs), among others.
"We just needed to move on. Amir needed to move on. Freddie is going to bring in another conditioning coach," Shah Khan told BoxingScene.com. "He [Roach] already mentioned a name, but we'll wait [to disclose the name] until he gets everything."
Ariza told BoxingScene.com that his problem is not with Amir Khan, but that it stems from a financial dispute involving members of Khan's team in relation to compensation for Khan's victory over Maidana.
Ariza claims that members of Khan team broke into his Mandalay Bay Hotel room and made off with several contracts related to the coach's compensation for Khan, Pacquiao and Chavez.
"They broke into my hotel room and what they did was, they stole the contract that I had made with Amir. Now they don't want to pay me for the work that I did with Amir Khan. They already admitted to Freddie Roach's lawyer [Nick Khan] that they did steal the contract. What I don't understand, is why steal my contract with Manny and why steal my contract with Chavez Jr.?" said Ariza.
"To me there are two things that you can never get rid of -- being a liar and being a thief. That's what they are. They went in my room and stole legal documents," said Ariza. "And number two, two of the documents had nothing to do with them. Who goes into somebody's room and goes through their bag and steals a folder with a contracts? Who does that?"
Khan's management, said Ariza, has, at times, required him to get his payment money from Roach.
"I'm an independent strength and conditioning coach. I don't work for Freddie. It's up to them to pay for my services. It's not up to Freddie. I have never met a more less-experienced team in my life," said Ariza.
"This is a team that had a shoe company make him boxing gloves that didn't even weigh the appropriate weight for a championship fight. They didn't even check before they got there. I had to argue to have Everlast put in," said Ariza. "There were almost a few times where Freddie and I didn't get on a plane because they wouldn't disclose how much Amir was getting paid on a fight. They've tried to hide numbers and stuff like that. It's been a long time that these people have been dishonest. It is what it is."
Ariza reiterated that his contentions are not against Amir Khan, the fighter, but with his handlers.
"I have no problem with Amir. I don't work for Shah or [his manager] Asif [Vali]. I work for the fighter. My contract is with Amir Khan. If I heard it from Amir's mouth, then that's one thing. But to hear it from Shah? He's not the manager. My problem is with them, there is no reason to punish the kid," said Ariza.
"Amir Khan is a good fighter. He always worked his a** off for me and never gave me any s**t. Like I said, I don't work for Shah. I work for Amir. The thing with Team Khan, these guys all rely on Amir," said Ariza. "If something happens to Amir Khan, they have nowhere to go tomorrow. With me, I have somewhere to go tomorrow. I'm with Chavez this week. I'll be in the Philippines in three weeks working with the Olympic athletes there."
Ariza and Roach are in Mexico training WBC silver middleweight (160) title-holder, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (41-0-1, 30 KOs) for Saturday night's defense against Billy Lyell (22-8, four KOs) that will be promoted by Top Rank Promotions and televised on Fox DePortes from the Banorte Soccer Stadium in Culiacan, Mex.